Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore
("Our Lady of the Sacred Heart", also known as San Giacomo degli Spagnoli
, (“St James of the Spaniards”) is a Catholic church dedicated to the Virgin Mary located in Rome's Piazza Navona.
For reference, a plan of the church is available here
An earlier oratory had been erected on the ruins of the Stadium of Domitian in the 10th century by the Benedictines of the Farfa Abbey to honor St. Andrew.
Between 1450 and 1458 Spaniards formed a community in the area surrounding the oratory. A new church was built to replace the oratory in 1450 by commission of Enrique of Castile, son of King Ferdinand III of Castile, dedicating the church to San Giacomo degli Spagnoli. The main entrance to the church at that time was from Corso Rinascimento, then called via San Giacomo and later via della Sapienza.
Starting in 1506 the church was the national church of the Spain in Rome , and in 1518 was again altered by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger. Two other artists worked with him: Jacopo Sansovino for sculptures and Pellegrino Aretuse da Modena for the frescoes.
When Santa Maria in Monserrato degli Spagnoli was completed in the 17th century, the focus of the Spanish community shifted to that church, which is now the Spanish national church.
However, the building was gradually decaying, and in 1818 the church was abandoned by the Spaniards and reduced to a storage house for timbers. In 1878 the building was then desecrated and sold. Fr. Jules Chevalier, founder of the French Missionaries of the Sacred Heart bought it. He commissioned architect Luca Carmini to restore the church. Carmini changed the orientation of the church, opening an entrance onto Piazza Navona, and built a new apse onto via della Sapienza. He divided the space into three naves of equal height.
The restored church was consecrated in1881 and entrusted to the Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and dedicated to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
The apse and the transept were demolished in 1938 to open the current Corso del Rinascimento. The apse was cut and the altar was repostitioned on the side of Piazza Navona. The architect Arnaldo Foschini gave the church the present double entrance, from Piazza Navona and from Corss Rinascimento.